Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

By: BriarCraft , 1:09 AM GMT on March 21, 2013

The first thing that draws the eye when approaching the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is the Boeing 747 airliner sitting atop the Wings and Waves waterpark adjacent to the museum. And yes, that is a real plane, not some scale model. The museum itself is housed in two huge buildings, one containing propeller-driven airplanes and the other housing jets, rockets, drones, and spacecraft. Good thing I wore comfortable walking shoes!

The moment I stepped into the prop-plane building, even before the admission fee was paid, the Spruce Goose captured and held my attention. Next, I noticed that the floor was littered with tiny-looking planes, but they were tiny only in comparison to the centerpiece.

Because metal was in short supply during World War II, the prototype for the Hughes H-4 Hercules, nicknamed the Spruce Goose by a journalist, was built out of wood, mostly duramold (laminated layers of birch veneer glued together under heat and pressure). To shape and form the wooden parts, 7 tons of nails were used. Once the glue set, every nail was removed. Models demonstrate the construction process and planned use of this Flying Boat. Since the prototype was not completed before the end of World War II, no metal aircraft of this style were produced.

Because so many transport ships were being sunk, a need was seen for a "Flying Boat" to carry 750 troops or 2 Sherman tanks and deliver them to any port on the European coast. To this day, it remains the largest airplane ever built. It's first and only flight was November 2, 1947. Wingspan: 319 feet, 11 inches. Length: 218 feet, 8 inches. Height: 79 feet, 4 inches. Weight, empty: 300,000 pounds. Payload: 130,000 pounds.

In the photo of the Spruce Goose's tail section, notice the plane under the tail in the background? It's a B-17 Flying Fortress. And it wasn't that far away. The Spruce Goose's tail is simply bigger than the B-17.

The B-17 was the first Boeing military aircraft with a flight deck instead of an open cockpit and was armed with bombs and five .30-caliber machine guns mounted in clear "blisters." The B-17E, the first mass-produced model Flying Fortress, carried nine machine guns and a 4,000-pound bomb load. It was several tons heavier than the prototypes and bristled with armament. It was the first Boeing airplane with the distinctive -- and enormous -- tail for improved control and stability during high-altitude bombing. Each version was more heavily armed. Boeing plants built a total of 6,981 B-17s in various models, and another 5,745 were built under a nationwide collaborative effort by Douglas and Lockheed (Vega).

Titan II is on the left. Saturn V is on the right.

After grabbing a sandwich at one of two museum cafes, we trekked across the parking lot to the other building. If I was awed by the Spruce Goose, I was blown away by the towering height of a Titan II missile. Standing upright! An elevator took us two stories below ground to have an up-close-and-personal look at the rocket engines that powered the Titan II. Not far away was a Saturn V rocket, but it was on its side in pieces, on trailers. It was impossible for me to grasp the scale of it, as I couldn't see the whole thing at once.

The Titan II was an inter-continental ballistic missile, later used as a medium-lift space launch vehicle used to carry payloads for the Air Force, NOAA, and NASA. Most famously, they launched the Gemini manned space capsules.

The Saturn V was a multistage liquid-fueled launch vehicle. NASA launched 13 Saturn Vs from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida with no loss of crew or payload. It remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status and still holds the record for the heaviest launch vehicle payload. A total of 24 astronauts were launched to the Moon, three of them more than once, in the four years spanning December 1968 through December 1972.

What I never expected to see was an actual, real space capsule. And then I looked up and saw another one suspended beneath a helicopter.

But wait! There's more!

Starting with the upper left and proceeding clockwise are models of: Apollo 11 moon shelter and rover , USSR Moon Walker, Mars Curiosity, Mars Rover.

Last, but certainly not least was the awesome Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the world's fastest jet-propelled aircraft, was used for surveillance from 1966 to 1990. Three SR-71s flown by three different crews set seven world speed and altitude records on July 27 and 28, 1976, including records of 2,193 mph (3,530 kph) for speed over a straight course and 85,069 feet (25,930 m) for altitude in sustained level flight. At 107 feet long and surrounded by other planes, once again I found it impossible to get the whole thing in one photo. By this time, I was getting used to seeing and photographing objects that simply were too big to fit into a single picture.

more photos at http://s878.photobucket.com/user/briarcraft/libra ry/2013/Jan-Feb-Mar?page=1

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60. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
10:38 PM GMT on April 08, 2013
BriarCraft has created a new entry.
59. BriarCraft
10:28 PM GMT on April 08, 2013
Hey Pros! Good to see you.

Sandi: You scared your lawn??? Oh, I'll bet this is another English vs. English thing. A hard raking to remove thatch (compacted grass clippings from previous years)? Or perhaps you aerated it (holes punched to make the compacted surface layer more porous)? Regardless, with all else you did, you have a very busy day, complete with sunshine.

Karen: Santa Ynez mountain camping. I'll bet you took some pictures, too. I'll go have a look-see in a bit.
"...like there isn't enough time to get what I want accomplished. Oh well, such is a teachers life!!!"
Teachers have no corner on time shortages. I'll hazard a guess that you still have the same sort of problem after you retire. So many things to do, so little time!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
58. SBKaren
12:58 AM GMT on April 08, 2013
Hi Briar -

Are you still getting springlike weather? We went camping in the Santa Ynez mountains and it actually got quite warm. Not as warm as it was in L.A. (when we drove through on Friday - 84º), but mid to upper 70s! Delightful weather!

It's rather springlike here but I hear we are due for another warm up this week. You'll hear no complaints from me!

It's back to work this week and I know the rest of the year will just fly by. After spring break it's like I blink and the school year is over. I always feel a crunch too, like there isn't enough time to get what I want accomplished. Oh well, such is a teachers life!!!

Take care!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 200 Comments: 14954
57. sandiquiz
7:37 AM GMT on April 07, 2013
Lawn scarified, cut and the edge trimmed. Several pots sorted and topped with fresh compost, summer bulbs planted, shrub roses shortened and buddliea pruned. So all in all, a good day... and today the sun is shining again!! lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
56. Proserpina
12:19 AM GMT on April 07, 2013
Hi, how are you? Just passing through for a quick hello and a wish for a nice weekend.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 188 Comments: 19248
55. BriarCraft
5:42 PM GMT on April 06, 2013
Puget: Thanks for stopping by and visiting awhile! I know you've got to be busy after the wonderful vacation you had. It was no hardship to enjoy the photos of your trip and leave a few comments.

Hey, everybody! PugetSoundPost got not 1, but 2 ACs (last I looked, and more posted since then) on the photos of her vacation to Death Valley. Check 'em out!

Ylee: Standing water in the garden today, but at least I got the weeds knocked down and composting!

Sandi: Yes, there are a lot of great sights to see in the San Juan Islands. Now, you've got an idea why I want to see them one day.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
54. sandiquiz
7:02 AM GMT on April 06, 2013
What a great video. The place looks wonderfully peaceful and I spotted otters, seals and a fish eagle I think!!
We are due to have a warmer day today, might even get up to 50! lol
So I hope to get the lawn cut and the border trimmed. If nothing else it should be dry, finally, as all we have had for a couple of weeks is ice and wind....but rain is due next week.
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
53. Ylee
11:50 PM GMT on April 05, 2013
New national monument! Woohoo! Needs a webcam! :' )

Hope you're recovering well!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
52. PugetSoundPost
10:50 PM GMT on April 05, 2013
Hi! It has been a long while since stopping by, and I have learned a lot this time. I enjoyed your blog opening chapter with the tour of the air and space museum! Looks like a great way to spend a day and very impressive too! Have you ever been through Boeing's Flight Museum in Seattle? I see some similar things on display, but your museum wins for biggest aircraft on display! The Spruce Goose is hard to imagine! I knew it was big, but the perspective sure tells the story. The Flight Museum here recently obtained a trainer (full size mock up of the Shuttle that astronauts used for training) for the Space Shuttle program, although I have never seen it yet.

Apparently while we were gone that massive landslide happened on Whidbey Island! Didn't hear about it, but your photo there (news photo) looks impressive too. Never have a house on the edge of a cliff or bluff, it seems. And, I did hear about one sentence about the San Juan Islands National Monument, but that is about it. Those islands are distinctive and nice to visit - you should get to them one of these days! Thanks for stopping by my photos and taking the time to comment! It has been a busy week with lots going on, and I am still getting more posted. Enjoy your gardening start!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 198 Comments: 1137
51. BriarCraft
9:49 PM GMT on April 05, 2013
Sandi: My goodness, five loads of laundry in one day! Someone's got ambition and energy. Amazing what a bit of sunshine can do for you. I do hope you get some more of that, although a bit less wind might make it more enjoyable.

Ylee and GG: Spring sunshine does trump sore muscles every time. A series of storms are passing through here Thursday-Sunday -- recovery time provided by Mother Nature. Then I'll be out having more fun and using muscles I forgot I have.


President Obama signed a proclamation on March 25 designating a new National Monument under the care of the Bureau of Land Management.

San Juan Islands National Monument

Situated in the northern reaches of Washington State's Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands are a uniquely beautiful archipelago of over 450 islands, rocks, and pinnacles. The new San Juan Islands National Monument encompasses approximately 1,000 acres of land spread across many of these rocks and islands and managed by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management. Drawing visitors from around the world, this is a landscape of unmatched contrasts, where forests seem to spring from gray rock and distant, snow-capped peaks provide the backdrop for sandy beaches. The San Juan Islands National Monument is both a trove of scientific and historic treasures and a classroom for generations of Americans.

The new National Monument contains a wide array of habitats, with woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands intermixed with rocky balds, bluffs, inter-tidal areas, and sandy beaches. In an area with limited fresh water, two wetlands within the new National Monument are one of the more significant freshwater habitats located on public land in the San Juan Islands. This diversity of habitats is critical to supporting an equally varied collection of wildlife, including black-tail deer, river otter, mink, and an array of birdlife such as the threatened marbled murrelet and the recently reintroduced western bluebird. The island marble butterfly, once thought to be extinct, is found only here. Marine mammals, including orcas, seals, and porpoises, attract a regular stream of wildlife watchers.

I've never visited any of these islands, but they're on my Bucket List.

Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
50. GardenGrrl
2:48 PM GMT on April 05, 2013
Roto-tilling. Now that's some work. Even the frogs came out to watch ;)
The excitement of spring trumps sore muscles again.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 11449
49. Ylee
10:03 PM GMT on April 04, 2013
Hi, Briar! Hope you've recovered from your tilling adventure! It'll be my turn in a couple of weeks, I hope!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
48. sandiquiz
8:26 PM GMT on April 03, 2013
Your graphic definitely shows my chilly location.

But on a positive note, the sun shone today, so I made use of it and the strong wind to dry five loads of laundry! All but the delicate items dried outdoors...although I had to keep an eye on the larger items as they kept blowing off the line, the pegs were not capable of hanging on tightly in such a gusty wind!! lol

Going to see the new kitty tomorrow, so will not be around until later... Then there should be photos:-)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
47. BriarCraft
6:36 PM GMT on April 03, 2013
Rob: Looks like we were typing at the same time yesterday. Thanks for the encouragement! One thing I'm learning as I get older is it takes more effort than it used to, to regain muscle tone and strength.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
46. BriarCraft
12:07 AM GMT on April 03, 2013
SP: As a rule, I don't care for practical jokes, either. But every once in awhile, someone will come up with one that does no harm to anyone and is funny besides. Mostly, I just have fun reading about fictitious ones.

An interesting image from Earth Observatory, acquired March 14-20, 2013,

"While a high-pressure weather system brought warmer than normal temperatures to Greenland and northern Canada in March 2013, much of North America, Europe, and Asia shivered through weeks of unseasonably cool temperatures. The contrasting temperatures are no coincidence: the same unusual pressure pattern in the upper atmosphere caused both events."

This shows fairly plainly why Sandi and a lot of others have been shivering and only hoping for spring.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
45. RobDaHood
12:05 AM GMT on April 03, 2013
Good to read that the hip is holding up well.

Mom just had another done. 3rd time and is doing well, but don't think she'll be operating a tiller anytime soon.

Hope the aches and pains subside and you get a good night's sleep. You are better than you were...just use caution not to overdo.
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44. sp34n119w
9:42 PM GMT on April 02, 2013
Thanks for the Fool's poem! There's some good ones in there, even if I don't much like practical jokes – maybe I'm just really bad at thinking them up and implementing them.

I've only just read your header as I was saving it to savor – well worth the wait! You've done another wonderful “travel-blog” :) I do like aircraft museums and airshows. I think I remember seeing the Spruce Goose from a distance while at the Queen Mary in Long Beach a long time ago. Do you know how they moved it?

Your little frog is adorable. I hope they all hopped away safely! So happy for you that you get to garden this year and hope more plants find their way home :)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4366
43. BriarCraft
7:38 PM GMT on April 01, 2013
Sandi: I was up early this morning, when I became too uncomfortable to lay abed any longer. Got up, took some acetaminophen, settled in the recliner with a cup of tea and a couple of warm, soft heating-pad warm sleepy cats, and took a nice nap. And yes, most definitely, the aches you feel today are as welcome as a "swallow in spring" and they are getting better as I move around.

WTS: Yes, that's what rich garden soil looks like. Every year, DH adds a cubic yard or more of homemade compost, to give it a boost. And let me tell you, the weeds thrive in it, with hardly any effort! Yesterday's tilling disrupted a lot of young tender thistles, buttercups, and red sorrel.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
42. WatchinTheSky
4:55 PM GMT on April 01, 2013
Looks like a bright sunny day!! And, so that's what nice soil looks like. My garden could use a LOT of that. Cute froggy, all I am seeing here lately are snails :(
Happy April!
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 149 Comments: 3107
41. sandiquiz
6:53 AM GMT on April 01, 2013
White Rabbits, Happy Month!

Well done on completing the tilling - I bet the aches you feel today are as welcome as a "swallow in spring" - What Spring!

Love your little frogs.... at least they ran away from the blades!
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
40. BriarCraft
1:38 AM GMT on April 01, 2013
Look what I found!

Actually, several of these little guys -- average 1.5 inches long (4cm) hopped out of the way of me and the rototiller this afternoon. They were hiding amongst the weeds in the garden patch until the noise disturbed them.

And, yes, I did get the garden tilled, though it was a near thing. 75ft x 32 ft. The new hip is holding up just fine, though I'll bet some abused muscles let their presence be known later on. It's a good kind of ache, though, accompanied as it is by a sense of accomplishment and lots of endorphins from being outside on such a lovely day.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
39. ihave27windows
11:18 PM GMT on March 31, 2013
Happy Easter BriarCraft! Hope you had a lovely day =)
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14952
37. BriarCraft
6:51 PM GMT on March 31, 2013
Well, here I am doing a quick fly-by of my own blog. Should I be ashamed of myself? Nah!

Thanks for thinking of me and stopping by Sandi, Pros, GG, Ylee, and Bogon. You're the greatest!

Spring has arrived with a passion. Friday, it warmed up to 67F. Saturday was 71F. Today, we look to be heading for the mid-70s. And it's been dry enough this month that I raised a bit of dust when mowing alongside our little private road yesterday. I was going to start some cabbage and lettuce seeds in the greenhouse, but now I'm thinking, "I wonder if the garden is dry enough to rototill?" instead. Hmmmm...

...I'll let you know!

ADD at 1:42PM: Yep, I'm tilling the soil today. And, wow, I'm so-o-o-o out of shape after loafing for the past three years. Okay, not quite loafing, but not tilling, either! This is going to be a case of till for half an hour, rest for half an hour, cuz at 70F in the sun, I'm sweating, out of breath, and red in the face. Floridians and Texans will be thinking, 70F? That's kinda chilly!

Anyway, I disturbed a little Pacific Tree Frog in the weeds, stopped the tiller, went and got my camera and took the little guy's picture. I'll post it later.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
36. Bogon
6:51 PM GMT on March 31, 2013
Happy Easter, BriarCraft!

I hope that my afternoon (EDT) greeting doesn't arrive too late by Pacific time.
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35. Ylee
11:39 AM GMT on March 31, 2013
Happy Easter, Briar!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
34. GardenGrrl
3:59 PM GMT on March 30, 2013
Happy Easter from the Cats :)

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 11449
33. sandiquiz
7:30 AM GMT on March 30, 2013

I hope you and DH have a wonderful Easter Weekend :)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
32. Proserpina
1:46 AM GMT on March 30, 2013
Painting by Maria photo PicMonkeyCollageEastercard_zps70232179.jpg

I think of the garden after the rain;
And hope to my heart comes singing,
At morn the cherry-blooms will be white,
And the Easter bells be ringing!

~Edna Dean Proctor, "Easter Bells"
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 188 Comments: 19248
31. sandiquiz
8:06 PM GMT on March 29, 2013
Any gardener reading this will surely understand.

lol - Oh I understand, but there is a limit to what I can store in the greenhouse, even after I have cleaned it out. The ground is still far too cold to plant anything, and every tub I own has already been roped into to service.

For instance, these are by the back door, and give me a "shot in the arm" of spring when I look out... even covered with snow!

Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
30. BriarCraft
7:50 PM GMT on March 29, 2013
Reno & Ylee are discussing the finer points of Puma concolor urine, so I'll leave them to it. It's a guy thing! 8^D

Sandi: Yes, the bolts were needed for attaching the mower blades. I was beginning to wonder if I might hacksaw my way through those rusted nuts without damaging the bolts within. Glad I found PB Blaster instead.
I see you understand the need for female self-sufficiency. Sometimes, the after-effect of hammers and other forms of brute force can be costly. Right?

I went to Longview yesterday for preventive dental maintenance (cleaning) and the dentist discussed new guidelines for patients with joint replacements. Until now, he had to insist that I take 2000 mg. of amoxicillin an hour before any dental appointment. The new protocol is antibiotics only until the joint is thoroughly healed (6-12 months post surgery). So no more pre-dental antibiotics for me!

While in Longview, I made a stop to pick up some bone meal (for my plants, not my hip!), but somehow, a few plants insisted on coming home with me. What can I say? It's spring. I didn't get to plant anything last year. And we haven't had such a nice spring since 2004. I told DH, if not for my stern self-control, my trip to town could have cost so much more than it did. Any gardener reading this will surely understand.


More in PugetSoundPosts territory than mine, but pretty interesting:

Preliminary Report On Whidbey Island Landslide

See a pretty good video from last night's NBC News at http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/29/175151 69-washington-island-landslide-may-date-back-11000 -years?lite
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
29. Ylee
1:50 PM GMT on March 28, 2013
Reno, I believed you, but I'd never heard of it! I guess they don't sell it over here!

My dad had a similar nickname for Mt. Dew.... :' )
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
28. sandiquiz
8:52 AM GMT on March 28, 2013
Sandi: Lucky you to find a replacement part for something no longer made. I love your solution: hack saw and brute ignorance! I admit I was starting to eye those nuts on the mower deck with thoughts of a hack saw

Argh...but I didn't need the rusted screws... the new part came with shiny new ones! You needed your bolts, 'cos I bet the new blades didn't come with any.

It was the limescale around the screw as well as the rust that made it difficult to remove, and although I have both WD 40 and a penetrating oil, I didn't want to use them in the cistern. Apart from the lingering smell in a confined space, I wasn't sure whether it would be good for the enamel. As for getting C to help - I did tell you the cistern was made of vitreous enamel - he would have wanted to use a hammer, too! lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
27. RenoSoHill
3:01 AM GMT on March 28, 2013
Quoting Ylee:
Well, I found a band by that moniker, a drink recipe, and a brand of whiskey so far...and a link

Ylee, I am surprised you questioned me - you jest!! Back in the 60's-70's when I was farming, we had a can of that in every toolbox. Can't say is was a well known as WD-40, but I will tell you that you couldn't rub it on your sore joints for arthritis pain like you can WD-40 -( and you can look that up!) lol
Member Since: December 12, 2009 Posts: 8 Comments: 13159
26. BriarCraft
2:38 AM GMT on March 28, 2013
Ylee: Yep, saved the blades for DH to work on. I've been known to bend a U into a mower blade on a spruce root. A 747 parked on a building, and as soon as you find some "panther piss" you'll have seen just about everything.

Reno: Howdy! I saw you didn't learn any better last year, so you're going to host the Gold Beach Gathering again. Not sure when/if we'll be visiting in-laws in Minnesota this year. Sure would like to join you at the mouth of the Rogue, but I'll have to wait and see for a bit before I say one way or the other. There are several West Coasters who contribute and/or lurk here, so maybe you'll get some comers.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
25. Ylee
11:18 PM GMT on March 27, 2013
Well, I found a band by that moniker, a drink recipe, and a brand of whiskey so far....

Found a reference!Link
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
24. Ylee
11:12 PM GMT on March 27, 2013
I gotta run that through Webcrawler, Reno! LOL!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
23. RenoSoHill
10:58 PM GMT on March 27, 2013
Excellent intro BC - maybe I'll get to see it in Sept when we come up the Oregon coast to the West Coast WU Photo Gathering in Gold Beach Sept 20-22. (How's that for a plug?)

Saw the Blackbird fly in 1985(?) at the World Expo in Vancouver BC - NEVER in my life heard anything so loud when it came off the runway and went straight up! Saw the "Goose" in LA (or some sub-blurb) many years ago.

Don't know if you can find it in your area - I see it once in a while in Colorado or Nebraska - it is called "Panther Piss" will loosen any frozen bolt or nut. Best stuff ever!

I enjoy the blog!
Member Since: December 12, 2009 Posts: 8 Comments: 13159
22. Ylee
9:51 PM GMT on March 27, 2013
Briar, if you have a bench grinder, you could have DH sharpen the old blades; they look like they have a few acres left in them, and one would be handy in case you ruin one on a root or large rock! I sharpen mine once or twice a year, depending on how much gravel I accidentally run into! ;' )

I've seen the space shuttle piggybacked on a 747, but never a 747 on a building before! :' )
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
21. BriarCraft
6:11 PM GMT on March 27, 2013

These are the old, dull mower blades that were haggling the grass last fall. The new ones, I'm happy to say are actually cutting the grass.

Sandi: Lucky you to find a replacement part for something no longer made. I love your solution: hack saw and brute ignorance! I admit I was starting to eye those nuts on the mower deck with thoughts of a hack saw.

GG: I was starting to worry about broken bolts once DH started helping. When he meets with resistance from some inanimate object, he gets a bigger tool, summons his chi, and announces to the object, "All right! We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way, but we are going to do this!" And sometimes that necessitates the purchase of a new whatever that just broke.

Ylee: Yeah, I'm a new PB Blaster fan myself. That stuff does work. As to removing the deck, what can I say? It's what the owner's manual says to do. And with the amount of brute force DH applied to get those nuts loose, if the tractor had been on a ramp, it wouldn't have stayed there. Wonder what the paramedics would have thought about that? Best not to find out. Anyway, when dealing with a reluctant handyman (me) and an applier of brute force (DH), it's probably best to stick with the instructions.

Oh, and Ylee, notice the photo at the top of the blog? I uploaded it here as a portrait because I did want you to see a 747 parked on top of a building.


Well, the weather wasn't bad yesterday -- just a couple of sprinkles under overcast skies -- but I staying indoors anyway and (drum roll) finished the bookkeeping for last year and did our tax returns. Ta-da! It isn't even April yet. How 'bout that? The only time in recent years that I've got the taxes done sooner was last year, when I did them before going into the hospital.

Starting tomorrow and for the next several days, the weather is going to be dry, with Saturday and Sunday likely to produce actual blue skies and sunshine. Lots of things to do outside and looking forward to it!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
20. Ylee
3:46 PM GMT on March 27, 2013
We use WD 40 for lubrication purposes, and PB Blaster for getting things unstuck! Glad you got the blades changed out, but removing the deck first seems the hard way of doing it. Is there no way of ramping the thing up so you can get to it?

Rural is pretty much all I know, and I intend to keep it that way! :' )
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 115 Comments: 19975
19. GardenGrrl
3:05 PM GMT on March 27, 2013
Hi Briar, know what you mean by busy. Glad you got the lawnmower fixed with breaking a bolt.
It is almost warm enough to get outside and finish my irrigation project. Supposed to be in the 60's around noon.
The Kitty Circus and Bird Rodeo had to be fun.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 11449
18. sandiquiz
2:24 PM GMT on March 27, 2013
I thought of you this morning when I was struggling to remove a rusty screw from the broken toilet cistern handle. The bathroom units in the downstairs cloakroom are 25 years old and the company has stopped making them like this. They are solid vitreous enamel, not the thin plastic the new cisterns are made out of.
I had been holding the handle together for a couple of years, but it finally gave up the ghost last week. I managed to find a company on-line who stock out-of-production parts for Ideal Standard (the cistern maker).

They had one only left, and from the diagram it looked the same, so with fingers crossed I ordered it. It arrived this morning and looked identical...phew. The fun began when I tried to remove the damaged lever, as the inside section was rusted and lime encased! In the end it was a combination of washing up liquid, a hacksaw and brute ignorance that managed to shift it.

The new one works a treat, and should be good for another 25 years!! lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
17. BriarCraft
6:28 PM GMT on March 26, 2013
Karen: Be careful there! You could wrench your knee kicking yourself.

Sandi: You must truly be glad of those trees. The population has more than doubled in our lifetimes and so many places are crowded these days. We have to take the quiet, green spaces where we can find them. In recent years in the Portland, Oregon, area there is a new focus to "in fill" homes, making the population more dense rather than letting it continue to spread unchecked into fields and farmland. Good that open spaces are being preserved, but bad that people living in dense populations have difficulty finding something open and green to enjoy.

I grew up in a rural area, but had to give up farm life to make a living after discovering that the day was only just so long. Many of those years were in crowded southern California. When I got to the point where I could become semi-retired, I sold home and business to move back to a rural area. I intend to enjoy the land and nature for as long as I'm able -- hopefully for many years yet.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
16. sandiquiz
9:02 AM GMT on March 26, 2013
What a busy little bee you have been, but I am sure you felt a great sense of achievement once it was completed.

You do have a large plot of land. I talk in feet, you talk in acres!

Living in the middle of a rapidly growing conurbation, I am lucky to look out onto green provided by the bank of trees alongside my house. When we were looking to move to MK over 20 years ago, from a leafy green village, we rejected many houses because they only overlooked "houses". When we got inside this house, we both liked its rear aspect, over-looking trees and fields. The fields have gone - now houses, schools and shops, but the trees remain, thank goodness!
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
15. SBKaren
1:51 AM GMT on March 26, 2013
Briar....well, I know the Spruce Goose flew for pospierity sake, it didn't really fly 'fly'. From what I remember, that short flight over the water was it!

Still kicking myself!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 200 Comments: 14954
14. BriarCraft
9:33 PM GMT on March 25, 2013
Pros: I don't know much about Palm Sunday, except that it comes a week ahead of Easter and that it is important to you. And I can appreciate that those palm fronds made of ribbon(?) are quite intricate and artistic.

Sandi: While I may not cower when I see birds bashing themselves against first one window then another, I do find it disturbing. I'm always fearful that a wing will get broken and then what would I do?

Poppy: You actually saw an SR-71 fly?! Cool! My place of work at one time was half a mile from the end of the runway at what was then Miramar Naval Airbase, home of the Top Gun flight school, so I did get to see a fair amount of fighter jets with after-burners glowing and making my ribcage vibrate, but I can only imagine the thrill of an SR-71 accelerating.

I was unfamiliar with the Western Kingbird, so I looked it up at AllAboutBirds.org. From the description of its behavior:
"Easily found perched upright on fences and utility lines, Western Kingbirds hawk insects from the air or fly out to pick prey from the ground. They ferociously defend their territories with wing-fluttering, highly vocal attacks. Vocalizations include long series of squeaky, bubbling calls as well as single, accented kip notes."
it seems that they would be an interesting bird to watch.

I wonder what's up with your robin. They like to eat worms, insects, and berries, but maybe you've got a good crop of insects this spring?


I haven't been around WUville much this past week, for which I apologize. It's not that I'm not interested in what WU've been up to, I've simply had a flurry of activity lately.

Last Monday, a week ago, I spent an afternoon removing the mower deck from the garden tracter. Well, actually, half that time was spent traipsing back and forth between the shop and the garage, fetching one tool after another, as I rediscovered what was needed.

It rained Tuesday through Thursday. Tuesday was the trip to the Evergreen museum. Wednesday was spent editing photos and creating this blog. Thursday was spent housecleaning.

Friday was a day of frustration, trying to remove the rusted-on nuts that secure the blades in the mower deck. I tried the potato-and-baking-soda remedy first. That did succeed in removing rust from the housing, but didn't loosen the nuts. Then, I tried WD-40 and finally Liquid Wrench. No good.

Saturday was board game day and I headed to town early to procure more bird seed and some super-rust-remover. The nice man at the hardware store directed me to a new (to me) product in an aerosol can called Blaster, a "revolutionary penetrating magnetic lubricant". Upon my return home Saturday evening, I applied some Blaster to those nasty old rusty nuts, so it could work overnight.

Sunday, the nuts still wouldn't come loose. After three or four more applications of Blaster, DH was finally able to break them loose. Yippee!!! The blades were quickly changed out and I proceeded to reattach the mower deck to the tractor. Until the final step, wherein I couldn't remember where to hook the spring on the end of the PTO power take-off) cable. The owner's manual conveniently neglected to show an illustration of that, but I did finally find a how-to video at the Troy-Bilt website, which almost showed for half a second where to hook the spring. Finally, finally, finally reassembly was complete. I started the mower, drove to the nearest spot of grass and, fingers crossed that I had done it right, I engaged the blades. No ominous sounds. No pieces of flying metal. Success! And I mowed about an acre before the afternoon was done.

Before lunch, I mowed about another acre and I hope to finish up before suppertime, as there's a fair chance of rain for the remainder of the week. Speaking of which, my late lunch break is over. Back at it!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697
13. calpoppy
8:11 PM GMT on March 24, 2013
Very cool blog, Briar!

My sons' dad was a Navy pilot, he flew A-4 Skyhawks during Vietnam, so when my kids were young we went to many an air show!! The neatest plane I ever saw fly was the SR-71, totally amazing with afterburners on!!!

Looks like you had a great time!

My robin is still here, it's the longest a robin has ever stuck around. All 3 Oriole species have arrived plus the Western Kingbirds are here also. I love their constant chatter, they are my buddies at 4:30 in the morning when I get up and have my cup of coffee.

It is a beautiful day here, wish I could send you some sunshine!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 4751
12. sandiquiz
12:27 PM GMT on March 24, 2013
When I was a child, a blackbird managed to get trapped inside my bedroom. I stood cowering behind the wardrobe door whilst my dad tried to encourage the bird back from whence it came, through the open window.
I love being outside with all the wild birds, but hate it when they get trapped and bash themselves against a window. There is something about their flapping wings that really un-nerves me, when they are trapped! Strange, isn't it!
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 324 Comments: 29604
11. Proserpina
12:19 PM GMT on March 24, 2013
Good morning Briar.

I do not know if you celebrate Palm Sunday, if you do:

Palme photo palms_zps9555642c.jpg

Wishing you a Blessed Palm Sunday.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 188 Comments: 19248
10. BriarCraft
10:43 PM GMT on March 22, 2013
Ylee: I hope you get the chance to have a look at the blog photos from home, or maybe you can sneak onto the boss's computer.

GG: Haven't seen any weasels around here, though it would probably take a savvy cockatiel to handle the personal injury lawsuit.

WTS: The chicken is black-and-white speckled. In a green field. Can't miss it! Or at least the sparrow couldn't. (te-he!)
As to rain, I'm not so sure. It looks threatening for a few minutes, wind comes up, a few drops of wet, then the sun peeks out again. Part of the time, I'm comfortable in shirt-sleeves, part of the time I need a jacket.

Another bird brain story:

While drinking my first cup of tea this morning, I heard a funny sound coming from the stovepipe of the wood stove in the living room. A very distinctive sort of sound. Just imagine the sound of bird feathers and claws in a metal tube. Pretty soon, it landed inside the stove, much to the cats' excitement.

Occasionally in March, a starling will figure out how to get through the "bird-proof" stovepipe cap while looking for a suitable nesting site. Having done this before, DH held a dish towel over the stove door while I cracked it open and reached in. In theory, if the bird eluded my grasp, which of course it did, it would be caught in the dish towel.

Let's just say the starling's reflexes were faster than ours. It flew from one window to another, cats following, looking for an opportunity. Finally, it got behind some curtains and landed on a window sill. Gotcha! The cats were very disappointed in me for opening the door and tossing it into the air. Like a fighter jet catapulted off an aircraft carrier, the starling took flight and left the area.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 94 Comments: 4697

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